- Elder Bobby HarrisDirector, House of Mercy
Demand the House of Mercy Serve Gay Homeless People
The House of Mercy homeless shelter in Columbus, Georgia has a rule on its books: if you're gay, we won't serve you. Last week, WRBL-TV interviewed the pastor, Elder Bobby Harris, who directs House of Mercy, and he says that his organization simply cannot tolerate homosexuality in any capacity.
"That act is not tolerated here at all. Let me tell you one reason why: because of the bible, of course. And then we have little children," Harris says. He then added that if a gay person wants to change their sexual orientation and turn their life over to religion, he would consider serving them.
Is this what passes for compassion at the House of Mercy shelter? As WRBL notes, all other homeless shelters in the area have pledged to serve all clients, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Yet the House of Mercy refuses, and suggests that gay people belong on the streets.
Send the House of Mercy a message urging them to change their policy. They obviously have deeply-held religious beliefs, particularly on the issue of homosexuality. But let's also not forget the tenets that call on us to feed all who are hungry, clothe all who are naked, and provide shelter to all who are seeking it. There's nothing in the Bible that says gay people should be denied any of these.
- Director, House of Mercy
Elder Bobby Harris
I am deeply dismayed to hear that your organization has a policy that requires you to refuse service to gay homeless people. While I understand that you operate under very strict religious beliefs, it does not seem very compassionate to deny services to people in need, just because of who they love or how they were born.
Every other homeless shelter in your region has gone on record saying that they will not discriminate against gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgender people when it comes to providing service and care to people in need. The House of Mercy should make this pledge, too.
Shelters are charged with caring for people at some of their most vulnerable hours. It saddens me to hear that the House of Mercy would turn people away, when they need help the most, just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. That's not only inconsiderate, it's also contrary to the very religious principles your organization holds dear.
Thank you for your time.
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